A Day of Braising and Boozing

Inspired by Danielle’s and my trip last weekend up to Central Coast wine country and perhaps fearful of the end of our “cool winter season” (I think it is going to be 80 in Hollywood today), I felt compelled to one last hurrah of braised meats and the like, before it is bbq time.  Armed with the February issue of Bon Appetit, I embarked on a seemingly simple yet, in reality, rather lengthy menu project.  It was a gloomy Monday in Venice, so it didn’t matter, and Ric and I had already agreed to a Season 2 marathon of House of Cards, but not until the sun went down (the show needs darkness, don’t you think?), so I had most of the afternoon.  

The menu was Braised Beef with Red Onion Gremolata, Parmesan-Roasted Potatoes, and Roasted Butternut Squash with Spicy Onions.  I feel like Rachel Ray could have banged out the latter two in 30 minutes, but be forewarned if you undertake the same...the vegetables and accoutrements took me about an hour and a half, cooking included.  And I didn’t feel like making three different herb toppings so I used the Gremolata on the Roasted Squash and it provided the same brightness to the squash dish with a hint of heat that we both thought accomplished the same thing as the recipe intended.

When all was said and done, I looked at my wine stash from the weekend.  (I have to admit, I went on quite a buying binge!)  The Rhone blend from Margerum seemed like the right deeply-fruity-and-spicy complement to the rich braised beef and the complex flavors of the roasted veggies.  We got through four episodes before collapsing from both a food and wine coma.

Recipes are below:
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/braised-beef-with-red-onion-gremolata
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/parmesan-roasted-potatoes
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/roasted-butternut-squash-with-spicy-onions

P.S. I didn’t bother with slicing/flouring/searing of the meat afterwards, I just seared the whole big thing at the start and let that be that.

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